Semiconductor

Country: 
UK
About artist / group: 

Semiconductor - Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt-do things in the semidarkness of their computer screens that resemble, from a technical point of view, the work of People Like Us, although the world they deal with is completely different in both sound and image. In many ways, this world complements that of Vicki Bennett: virtual cities, digital earth-quakes, power outages, the consequences of viral pandemic diseases (such as their work Digital Anthrax) and other catastrophes-chaos in the face of unimagined human interventions… The artists work, for the most part, with the state of human consciousness-cellular entities fighting among themselves on a sub-molecular level. Holes, clefts, vacuums, forming in mentalities long ago abandoned by both moderation and stability, are not merely superficial here; Semiconductor peers deep into darkness, where they stumble on both spontaneous and pre-programmed, both abstract and figurative and, finally, both visual and auditory phenomena. Jarman and Gerhardt are hardly afraid of the increasing paranoia in which their work is seen and heard, the possibility that civilisation might at any moment implode, if not explode-indeed, this is something that can be secretly expected. These two Brighton immigrants living in London have thus become a synonym for digital noise and computer anarchy over the past few years. They construct tabletop, handy or obvious concert-hall environments in which one can comprehend a larger and more distant image. In many cases, they use sound to create a simulation of the road between virtual and actual reality. Their work expands from the activity of the simplest life forms to imposing architectures and constantly changing landscapes. On the sound level, Semiconductor combines digital data and analogue signals, creating the impression of artisanship. They constantly take into consideration and acknowledge the possibility of chance and computer freezes, and are full of contradictions, as their music sounds both rustling and violent, minimal and maximal at the same time. "Noise is undesirable sensory information," say Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt, discussing their live performance in Wire magazine (June 2003). "In the world of computers, everything is pure, which means a little bit of noise needs to be added for people to feel comfortable. The idea of noise is both visual and auditory. A parallel of emotions can be seen within it: it is not about merging two emotions, it is about comprehending them as one. It looks like computer anarchy. Computers can only simulate it."

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